P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Giving siropas by CM raises eyebrows
Varinder Walia and P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 21
The first-ever longest march from one Takht to another was organised by Damdami Taksal. The march started from Akal Takht today. It will reach Hazur Sahib, Nanded (Maharashtra), on October 27 after traversing many states.

However, giving siropas (robes of honour) by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to important religious figures from Akal Takht raised many an eyebrow in the Panthic circles. It is for the first time that the Chief Minister was asked to honour the dignitaries though the SGPC president and Sikh high priests, including Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar,, Kesgarh Sahib, and Giani Baldev Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Damdama Sahib, were present on the occasion.

Interestingly, Badal also honoured Bhai Mohkam Singh, convener of the Khalsa Action Committee, who had been a strong critic of Badal and his government.

Senior BJP and Rashtriya Sikh Sangat (RSS) leaders, including its state president Rulda Singh, also participated in the nagar kirtan in a big way. The RSS state president was also present in the congregation at Akal Takht. Talking to The Tribune, Rulda Singh said he had come here as a humble Sikh and it was the duty of everybody to participate in a mega event like the tercentenary of the Gurta Gaddi of Guru Granth Sahib.

Addressing the gathering before the commencing of the nagar kirtan from Akal Takht, Badal called upon religious preachers, especially Sikh high priests, to work at the grassroots level to spread the message of Sikhism.

The Chief Minister said the high-level committee constituted by the Central government and led by union home minister for the development of Hazur Sahib had unanimously decided to name the airport there (at Hazur Sahib) after the name of the 10th Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh. He said the members of the committee had also collectively decided to construct a road from Anandpur Sahib to Hazur Sahib to be named as Guru Gobind Singh Marg. He said the Chief Ministers of the states from where the march would pass through had given their permission.

Earlier, he said, the Akali government had been developing Anandpur Sahib and Damdama Sahib and surrounding areas by spending huge amounts to mark the celebrations.

The Chief Minister said the government would also develop the areas and historic shrines where the Sikh Gurus had visited.

Interestingly, the Chief Minister appreciated the Congress-led Central government and the state government in Maharashtra for developing Nanded Sahib and Hazur Sahib.

Earlier, talking to the media, Badal said the SAD would contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections on the plank of development. He said the state government had come out with comprehensive development plans to encompass all parts of the state and would leave no stone unturned to fulfil its promises.


Dairy farmers to import best bull semen
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Think again if you feel representatives of multinationals Worldwide Sires and American Breeds Society have little in common with dairy farmers of a little known society, which has come up in Punjab during the past two years.

Both are keen to offer a premium global product, one to the society and the other to dairy farmers of the state. The product - the highest-rated bull semen in the world - is needed by Punjab farmers to cross the next threshold of milk production in the country.

The dairy farmers’ group, Progressive Dairy Farmers Association (PDFA), has decided to import 20,000 doses of quality bull semen capable of siring calves that will have the capability to produce 12,000 to 14,000 litres per lactation of 300 days. The move, which cuts off time delays and red tape if done through a government agency, also allows the association to negotiate with the major global players in this field.

The PDFA with its 3,000 members spread across the state is the result of an idea to hand over dairy development to the dairy farmers themselves. Helped by the State Farmers Commission (SFC), the PDFA has acquired an import licence for this purpose.

PDFA Working Committee member Harinderjit Singh said the present semen available in India is of bulls whose mothers have produced around 9,000 litres per lactation. He said dairy farmers who want to go above this figure had to reckon with the high import costs and added that a 50 per cent subsidy had been proposed by the SFC to help the organisation.

The PDFA is also in talks with the multinationals to become their sole distributor of semen stalks in the northern belt comprising Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Farmers Commission Consultant (Dairy) Anil Kaura, who is closely associated with the PDFA, says the dairy farmers have also been advised to form a company of their own. Kaura says documentation is under way to register the company and once it was established, it would be the first company formed by farmers in the country. The SFC consultant said it was proposed that all members of the PDFA would be shareholders in the new company, depending upon the number of animals they own.

The association has succeeded in instilling pride in comradeship and the first sign of this is the PDFA flag flying over dairies of association members all over the state. “This also helps in easy identification,” says Harinderjit Singh of Khalsa dairy farm at Shahpur village in Mohali district.

Harinderjit, who runs a dairy farm complete with an automatic milking facility and a milk-chilling plant, says the association is also helping new start-ups as well as its own members by selling cows to them at moderate rates. He says this has helped in weeding out middlemen from this trade. The association has also been organising fairs for the last one year with the help of the Farmers Commission. SFC Consultant Dr P S Rangi said farmers were also encouraged to deal directly with advertisers as well as dairy product manufacturers.


Church body vows to fight religious fundamentalism
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 21
In a significant development, the Church of North India (CNI) today took a pledge to participate fully in the struggle of Christian victims of large-scale atrocities to get justice, put together the broken pieces of their lives and resume the journey of their faith.

Before the CNI released its affirmation on the concluding day of its 13th edition of Ordinary Synod, Lyngdoh, who was bishop of the North-East India Diocese, was installed the 11th moderator of the CNI.

The installation service was held at the local Avalon Senior Secondary School. Lyngdoh came into the ministry in 1980 and became the bishop of the Diocese in 1996. As moderator he will be leading one of the largest Protestant churches in the northern India for three years. Philip Marandih was elected deputy moderator. He was the bishop of the Patna Diocese. Both bishops were unanimously elected by representatives of the 26 CNI Dioceses participating at the 13th Ordinary Synod of the CNI.

The synod also expressed deep solidarity with the Christians in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and elsewhere in India who were being persecuted for their faith.

“What has been happening in the 10 districts of Orissa and various areas in the adjoining states is a naked attack on Article 25 which guarantees citizens the right to practice, preach and propagate their faiths,” and hence, the CNI appealed to the governments to ensure that Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other minority religious communities were not denied this fundamental right.

As per the affirmation released after the formal end of the synod, for the first time in the history of the CNI, the synod adopted the CNI policy of education and constituted a highly empowered commission on education. Spiritual renewal of their institutions was of utmost importance.

“We need to educate and equip our educational institutions to be effective instruments for spreading the good news of liberation for societal transformation,” the affirmation said.

The synod had started on October 17. During the past five days the bishops, lay leaders, clergies and representatives of different Dioceses of the CNI discussed, reflected and deliberated upon the achievements and failures of the last triennium. With a new vigour, the synod had been put forward to new challenges for the coming three years.



CM visits ADC’s bereaved family
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 21
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today visited the bereaved family of ADC Kirpal Singh, who died of renal failure at a private hospital at Mohali yesterday for want of a kidney.

The aggrieved family of Kirpal Singh gave went to their hurt feelings as Harvinder Kaur told the CM that initially the Kidney Transplant Authorisation Committee had given a green signal for the transplantation but later, due to extraneous reasons, the permission was declined under pressure from various quarters. She lodged a protest that later the police had changed their stance and gave a different report about the consent of the donor Sunny which led to the revocation of the earlier order of the committee.

The CM directed the administration to allow the family to continue living in the government house for the next two years and said the government would meet all expanses of the children’s education till they completed graduation. The government would consider giving employment to his son in the state government.

Colleagues of Kirpal Singh said he was an honest man and worked with great diligence without favour or bias. He said during his tenure as senior officer he could not even build a house. He started his career as SDM at Tarn Taran and died serving the same district as ADC after putting in 21 years of service in various capacities.

The Cabinet today passed a resolution describing him as an asset to the state government. A two-minute silence was also observed by the Cabinet to pay tributes to the departed soul. 


Akali MLA honours kin of slain militants
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 21
The honouring of the kin of slain militants by Akali MLA Malkit Singh AR at a public function at Sultanwind village, once called “Mini Khalistan”, has evoked a mixed response from the SAD, BJP and radical Sikh outfits.

The Akali MLA dubbed the slain militants as shaheed (martyrs) and told The Tribune that it was the duty of the ruling party to take care of their family members. He, however, said the party was not providing any financial help to them.

The Akali MLA honoured the kin of Kanwaljit Singh Sultanwind, self-styled chief of the Khalistan Commando Force and member of the Panthic Committee, headed by Dr Sohan Singh. Sultanwind was involved in a number of killings including the assassination of the chief of Bhakhra Beas Management Board. The families of other slain militants, including those from the Babbar Khalsa and the Khalistan Liberation Force, were also honoured.

Though Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had been attending the bhog ceremonies of the slain terrorists during the peak of militancy, yet he started maintaining his distance with radical Sikhs after wiping out of terrorism from the state. This is for the first time that any Akali leader publicly honoured the kin of militants. It is a separate matter that the SGPC still honours the kin of Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukh, who were hanged to death for assassinating Gen A.S. Vaidya, former Army chief, who was the main architect of Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

Many BJP leaders, who pleaded anonymity, said they would take up the matter with the party high command and the CM. Earlier, the BJP high command had taken serious note when the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale was installed in the Sikh Museum of Golden Temple. Many Hindu organisations had threatened to remove the portrait.

Meanwhile, the Dal Khalsa'a secretary for political affairs Kanwarpal Singh hailed the gesture of Akali MLA Malkiat Singh for showing “courage” in honouring the family members of martyrs of Sikh struggle for a separate Sikh state. His participation in the function organised to pay homage to slain militants at Sultanwind yesterday itself was a significant gesture, as it lent credence to the Sikh cause, he observed.

He accused Badal of having double standards because he himself was involved in tearing apart Article 25 (b) (2) of the Indian Constitution and submitting a memorandum to UN Secretary-General favouring right to self-determination for the Sikhs.


MC poll: 4 hurt in police lathicharge
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Sujanpur (Gurdaspur), October 21
Even as two municipal councillors belonging to the BJP were elected president and vice-president of the local Municipal Council (MC), Congressmen alleged that the police resorted to lathicharge and SDM-cum-observer Avinabh Trikha did not entertain their objections to facilitating the BJP to have control over the civic body.

The Congressmen alleged that Anil Kumar Kala, secretary, District Congress Committee, and Tanuj Mahajan, Rakesh Kumar Monu and Sham Sunder were mercilessly beaten up by SHO, Sujanpur police station, Parambir Saini. They suffered head injuries and were struggling for life in the Pathankot civil hospital. Vinay Mahajan, Congress municipal councillor, talking to the TNS on the phone alleged that the police resorted to lathicharge on Congress workers outside the MC office when they were protesting against the election of the two BJP municipal councillors through hanky-panky means.

Mahajan said first the police had fortified the town to prevent the Congressmen’s entry into the council office.

He added that last night a false criminal case was registered against one of the Congress municipal councillors Joginder Pal so that he could be arrested before he could cast vote. He added that Joginder, however, managed to reach the hall to cast vote.

Trikha, while claiming that elections were held in a free, fair and transparent manner, said no lathicharge was resorted to the police.

He, however, said if the Congressmen would lodge a formal complaint to him in connection with the lathicharge, he would institute an inquiry into the same. SHO Parambir Saini too denied the lathicharge allegations.


Govt apathy to blame for unpicked paddy, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 21
Paddy lies unpicked in mandis all over Punjab because of government apathy and manipulation by certain arhtiyas, backed by the government, in lifting the bumper yield this year, affecting hundreds of hapless farmers, said Capt Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister, while addressing a press conference here today. The paddy, in case it is unpicked for about a week, tends to get spoilt.

Narrating his experience following visits to the Moga, Khanna, Goraya, Malout and Muktsar mandis, Capt Aamrinder Singh said the MSP of Rs 850 given to the farmers was far less than the deserved price, including the meagre bonus of Rs 50. “I recently talked to Shivraj Patil, union home minister, regarding the problems of the farmers. Mohinder Kaypee, working PPCC president, called on Sonia Gandhi, party president, and we are hopeful of getting relief at the earliest".

"More than 70 per cent of the poor farmers in the state are hapless onlookers before the arhityas and government agencies for picking their produce and the agencies are not responding adequately. Farmers are facing trying times. In fact, they are getting agitated now. 'Rasta roko' by farmers could be an indication of more troubled times ahead for the government in the near future", the former Chief Minister said.

"Dispensing personal favours seems more important for the Badal government rather than looking after the farmers’ interests. The Badal government, during its previous tenure, had managed an increase of only Rs 40 in the MSP of paddy. We got an increase of Rs 290 during four years of power at the Centre".

The former CM categorically rubbished the government plan to sell land of official quarters at different places in the state. "The SAD had sold guest houses during their previous tenure and now they are disposing of other government property. There is no other motive except to fill their own pockets in disposing of the state property, which belongs to the people".

“I am deeply concerned about the flight of the state capital, as industries in Punjab are moving to greener pastures in other states, including Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The industry that I tried to promote for the state public welfare is getting a raw deal now. No progress is possible without industry and the government will not be able to justify its action of having turned down major projects cleared during our tenure".

The death of IAS officer Avinash Singh Chhatwal in Chandigarh, who allegedly committed suicide, is very unfortunate and reflects poorly on the immense job pressures under which the officers are working under the current government. 


Militancy cannot revive in state: DGP
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Shahkot (Jalandhar), October 21
Though infiltration from across the border continues at regular intervals to revive terrorism in Punjab, in the absence of public support, militancy cannot raise its ugly head again, claimed director-general of the Punjab police N.P.S. Aulakh.

The DGP was addressing mediapersons after the inauguration of the first Model Police Station of the state here today. The DGP admitted that the Bhindrawala Action Committee (BAC) had sought its revival in the last couple of years, but the police was fully prepared to curb it, he added.

Answering a query about the involvement of Khalistan Zindabad Froce (KZF) chief Ranjit Singh Neeta in reviving militancy in the state, the DGP admitted Neeta was active in Punjab. He said Neeta had been preparing youths to supply arms and ammunition from across the international border to Punjab. Some of his trained men had been arrested along with arms and ammunition recently.

He said on getting positive results, one model police station would be set up in each district of the state.

Earlier, Aulakh paid floral tributes to the martyrs of the Punjab police at a function to commemorate Police Martyrs Day at the Punjab Armed Police Centre. A guard of honour was also given to the martyrs as a tribute.

Besides senior police personnel, Sanjiv Kalra, inspector-general of police, Narinder Pal Singh, DIG, PK Rai, SSP, Jalandhar, were also present.

In the decade-long fight against terrorism, the Punjab police lost more than 2,200 officers and jawans. This year, more than 680 officers and jawans of the police had sacrificed their lives for the country, out of which 11 are from the Punjab police. 


Cabinet approves business school for Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Punjab Cabinet has in principle approved the setting up of Indian School of Business (ISB) at SAS Nagar and granted clearance for leasing out 70 acres of land in knowledge city, Sector 81, Mohali, to the ISB and four founder-supporter institutions viz. the Bharti Institute of Public Policy & Administration, Hero Institute of Manufacturing Science, Max India Institute of Healthcare Management and Punj Lloyd Institute of Physical Infrastructure Management.

Stating this here today, a spokesperson for the government said the lease of land to the ISB would be for a period of 99 years at Re 1 per acre per annum for establishing the second campus of ISB Mohali along with the above-mentioned four institutions.

The cabinet also approved to grant exemption from VAT to the tune of Rs 2.87 crore on purchase of material being used for construction of Kuka Martyrs Memorial at Malerkotla. Further it approved transfer 1.25 acres of land belonging to the Department of Animal Husbandry in Tripari Patiala to the Pepsu Township Development Board, Rajpura, for the construction of a marriage palace in public interest at the collector of Rs 4,050 per sq yard and the total price of the land involved is approximately Rs 2,45,02,500.

A nod has also been given to conversion of the existing The Punjab Preservation of Sub-Soil Water Ordinance, 2008, into the Punjab Preservation of Sub-Soil Water Act, 2008, with the carrying out of relevant amendments. The Cabinet also gave approval for amending the Punjab Package Deal Properties (Disposal) Rules, 1976, and Section 3(11) and Sector 20(4) of the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961, for issuing an ordinance for conversion into an Act.

The sale of the site No. 3 and 6 measuring 3.40 acres and 1.87 acres of Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital at Amritsar under OUVGL Scheme for the Hotel Site through Private Public Partnership mode on Revenue Sharing Scheme basis instead of open auction system was also approved. 


CCI will enter mandis in Punjab: Lakhowal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Union government has assured to direct the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to enter mandis where it has not started cotton purchase in Punjab to ensure minimum support price to farmers of the state.

This was conveyed to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) president and Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal during a meeting with T. Nanda Kumar, secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation in Delhi.

Lakhowal, in a press note here today, said he had apprised the Central Government officer that the CCI was not procuring cotton from 14 mandis in Punjab, including Bariwala, Dhuri, Lehragaga, Sunam, Sangrur, Barnala, Patran, Samana, Faridkot, Bhikhi, Bagha Purana and Nihalsinghwala. He said in all these mandis, cotton growers were selling their produce below the MSP to private traders.

The Agricultural Marketing Board chairman said he had also brought to the notice of the central officer that purchasing agencies especially the Food Corporation of India (FCI) were not purchasing paddy with a slightly higher moisture content than the stipulated 17 per cent in the state. He said floods in Punjab were responsible for the high moisture content as well as slight discolouration.

Lakhowal said the secretary agriculture assured him that the issue of purchase of paddy that was discoloured and had a higher moisture content would be referred to the FCI so that farmers were able to get their dues and did not suffer in the mandis. 


Parents’ divorce case mars girl’s ring ceremony
Parmod Bharti

Nawanshahr, October 21
In a bizarre incident, the ongoing divorce proceedings between a couple nearly played a spoilsport at the ring ceremony of their daughter at Gorakhpur village here on Sunday.

Paramjit Kaur, a local resident, complained to the deputy commissioner on October 18 that her husband was planning to solemnise the marriage of his minor daughter Jyoti on October 20 after taking Rs 30,000 from the groom’s side. Stating that her divorce case was pending in the court, the woman also attached the girl’s birth certificate, issued by the Government Senior Secondary School, Langroya, along with the complaint. The document mentioned Jyoti’s date of birth as 02.04.1991. Acting on the complaint, Jasbir Singh Mahi, tehsildar and Sulakhan Singh, SHO (Sadar), reached Gorakhpur village today to inquire into the matter.

Denying the allegations of marrying off his daughter for Rs 30,000, Amrik Chand, Jyoti’s father, said the ring ceremony of his daughter was solemnised today. 


‘Sikhism needs renaissance’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The president of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, today said there was a need for a second Sikh renaissance to enable the community to take on the present-day challenges as the institutional growth of Sikhism had slowed down over the past eight decades.

Dr Ahluwalia, in a statement here, said in the midst of the euphoric celebrations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Gurgaddi Tercentenary, which he said had been preceded by sacred centenaries since 1966, the Sikh community should spare a few moments to address the urgent issue of the much-delayed second Sikh renaissance. This, he said, would help to complete the unfinished tasks of the first renaissance, which dawned in the last quarter of the 19th century.

The foundation chairman said the second re-awakening was required for internal reformation of the Sikh society.


Stay on Chahal’s non-bailable warrants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
B.I.S. Chahal, ex-media adviser of former Chief Minister of Punjab, has got relief from the high court. Taking up his petition, Justice Mohinder Pal has asked the trial court to admit him on bail after he surrenders.

he execution of the non-bailable warrants against him has also been stayed.

hahal had landed himself in trouble by missing a date of hearing in a case of cheating and other offences registered under Sections 406, 420 and 405 of the IPC registered at the Kotwali police station in Patiala.

Appearing before the high court, his counsel asserted that the petitioner was absent from the proceedings before the trial court on October 3. The action was neither “intentional, nor willful” as he had “inadvertently noted down the next date of hearing as October 13”.

Taking up the matter, Justice Mohinder Pal asserted: “Earlier, he was on bail. He approached Patiala additional sessions judge, who directed him to surrender before the trial court and it was directed to dispose the application on the same day.

“The order passed by Patiala additional sessions judge is modified to the extent that the petitioner will surrender before the trial court on or before the next date of hearing and the trial court will admit him on bail, subject to the conditions imposed by it”.


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